T Nation

Takedowns for the (Very) Tall

What’s happening guys?

Just pretty straight forward, what are good takedowns for tall guys? I get pummelled far too much, and never seem to be able to get to the other guys hips because I need to drop my hips half a mile to get down.

Every suggestion is appreciated.

How tall are you? What do you compete in?

Snap down, collar drags and foot sweeps all favor longer limbed/taller grapplers. Hip throws, especially standing variations are very difficult against shorter opponents due to their hips naturally being lower than yours.

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Thanks man,

I use the throws in mma class, so the collar drag might not be the best choice without gi.
Maybe something from clinch you would recommend? I noticed I had some succes with a ugly tai otoshi…

I don’t compete (yet), but I need some takedowns in mma class. Next to that, it’s always a plus in self defence scenarios.

Edit: and 6’8 is my height, forgot to mention that first time

In wrestling, you can do headlocks like a “throw,” and like Sento said, hip level can be a problem for tall guys.

You can also "sag."

Ankle picks seem natural for a tall guy.

Another advantage of being tall is your range on takedowns. You have a long way to drop your hips, but once you’re down there, you probably have an 8 foot “double leg takedown range.” Nobody is gonna believe you can shoot on them from that far way. Take 2 steps back, drop your hips and shoot. A lot of guys will walk right into you.

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Depending on how strong you are you can try getting into the clinch and doing the chalice. Pretty much just put both hands behind the head and push em down to the ground. It worked well for me in wrestling. Not sure about the crossover to BJJ, but it seems like it’d make for a pretty easy transition to their back

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Agreed. I’m a paltry 6’4" but have had good success in more ‘combatives’ type applications catching people with modified double legs and dumps from further out than they expect.

Also have done decently well clinching, throwing a couple of softening knees then going to a nose to toes or just 'bulldogging" (probably not the technical term) them down by the head/neck. Where the head goes the body must follow, ugly but it works for me.

For those last 2 I find it advantageous to be able to get my weight on top of the opponent and drive down, so my height becomes an asset.

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You guys are awesome!

I am definitely going to try some far away shots! The Sag Headlock seems very effective, I just can’t imagine staying upright when over 220 pounds is crashing on my neck.

If you can, keep em coming please!

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At 6’8 I would tell you to work on your stand up and gaurd. With your hieght and limbs you can knock down alot of people with a jab/cross combo. Practice boxing and some form of grapplig to protect yourself if you are taken down.

From a MMA standpoint where strikes are a reality the set ups are going to be different as is what is going to be considered “safe.” The threat of strikes definitely changes the experience of being in a clinch or how you enter a clinch in the first place.

Again, long legs and arms are going to mean you can reach the opponent’s legs/neck/body from a further distance, so things like foot sweeps, trips, ankle/knee picks, and some “hand throws” (like Tai
Otoshi and snap downs for instance) are all going to be options.

Always remember though that, just like in striking, better opponents are often going to require you to use combinations of techniques in order to create openings and actually land skills effectively. Too many beginners think only in terms of just a single “Hail Mary” takedown and if it doesn’t work, instead of just “chaining” to the next skill (like throwing a combination of punches for example), they just stop.

Watch really good wrestlers or Judoka in MMA (or pure grappling competitions for that matter) and you generally see them using combinations of takedowns to eventually land an effective technique.

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There definitely is some truth in that, but I just want to be sure I am able to take someone down when it is needed.

Very true! Something I’m guilty of myself very frequently!
Well, this ‘punch and clutch’ stuff Jack Slack has talked about seems like a good principle to get in range. This video of Fedor is a good example of the concept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ0MQbu3ofM .
Power punch into the clinch and work from there.

But keep chaining stuff is great advice

In a scramble, you can sort of step behind dude’s leg to trap it. Then reach down and grab it.

Cormier isn’t built like you, but look how effective he is hooking the leg/ankle

Great point about using multiple techniques to get takedowns. You don’t stand outside and use some kind of perfect samurai decapitation strike. You gotta get in there, sometimes you get a little out of position, to get the other guy more out of position. Then you “win the battle of mistakes” in the scramble.

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Yes, punching your way into range can be a good entering strategy in MMA. A couple things to keep in mind regarding Fedor and that strategy though is:

  1. Fedor was very fast for a HW in his prime, had lots of power in his hands, and could take a good punch. “Slugging” your way into range might not be such a great strategy if those are not attributes you share.

  2. Nog was largely staying still or backing straight up and attempting to cover up or dodge Fedor’s punches, thus making it easy for Fedor to enter the clinch. If instead your opponent is angling off, or trying to “intercept” you on the way in (with either a strike or takedown attempt of their own), again a different strategy might be needed (or at least a slightly different application of the same strategy).

  3. Fedor wanted to get close and into the clinch because he knew his Sambo (which is a heavily Judo influenced art) and superior strength would allow him to bully Nog (who, being a BJJ fighter was never great at takedowns, almost never “shot,” and would generally be content in falling to his back into Guard). Fedor also had arguably the best Ground and Pound of any MMA fighter in history and great submission defense, so was able to dominate Nog once the fight hit the ground. If your opponent is more of a wrestler/Judo type who is very good in the clinch (think Randy Couture or Ronda Rousey), you may be ill advised to purposely take the fight into the clinch (ask Meisha Tate). Or, if they are very good from their guard and you are not great from there, you may want to stay away from things like “inside trips”/Ouchi Gari, Outside foot hooks/KoSoto Gari, or other “straight on” takedowns that are likely to wind up with you in your opponent’s guard and might instead choose to try to get to Rear clinch or Side Clinch where you have a better chance of landing in side control or Top Turtle/Referee’s position/Par Tere.

I would also study Royce Gracie’s strategy of using push kicks to maintain distance/distract his opponent’s so he could “jam” his way into grappling range, Randy Couture’s entering skills, and John Jones’ distance control skills and upperbody takedown skills once he gets in (for someone who pretty much has a reach advantage over almost everyone he fights and uses it masterfully).

Good luck.

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Whizzer defense against you opponent pummeling in. Overhook, and rotate your hips away.

"Body lock clinch"

If dude is off-balance enough, you can “Bull-Dog” him down.

If not, keep him jacked up, then trip him.

Thanks so much guys. Great tips!
I really have to find out a way to get into the clinch, although I guess it would be more for SF/LEO scenarios than MMA per se.

Especially the bodylock double threat seems like a killer. I think experimenting with lateral drops and reaps/trips from there would all be viable options.

I would be careful with any “blind” takedowns (like Lateral drops, back arches, suplexes, etc…) in SD/LEO scenarios. Real world environments aren’t always completely clear wide open padded surfaces. Things like granite curbs, park/city benches, coffee tables, rocks, counter tops, etc…can really ruin your day should you throw your head backwards into them or land on them with both yours and your opponent’s weight smashing you into them. Honestly, I almost never do any type of “blind takedown” nor do I teach them to my students because I don’t want those techniques in my muscle memory (as my primary focus of application is SD). The only time I do them is if I’m already getting thrown and am attempting a “sacrifice throw” (in which case I am going down anyhow and so only really have a choice of whether or not to take them with me.

You don’t want to develop “Fatal Tendencies” (as Robert Bussey calls them) simply because the rules and environment you commonly train in makes them artificially “safe” if your goal is to use them in a different context.

Along the same lines, we actually don’t really focus on “shots” where you touch your knee(s) to the ground in our core curriculum. Stuff like “snatch doubles/singles” are fair game though and we do teach people how to do traditional shots though as they are great for padded surface contexts like MMA or straight grappling and knowing how to defend against them is also important should someone do them to you.

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WOWOW, Sento dropping bombs here!!

As I understand ‘blind’ takedowns are takedowns where you don’t see where you are falling? And what would be the opposite?
So…what is a blind takedown, what is the opposite, what are examples of both? Man, teach me more about this, please!

Some good stuff.

That First Body lock is too high though. That can work if you are very strong or your opponent doesn’t know to post and Hip away, but if they know what they are doing or are bigger/stronger than you it is unlikely you’ll be able to keep their hips locked to you, let alone bend them over backwards. That takedown is heavily influenced by leverage and just like with things like Armbars, a few inches off the mark can mean the difference between success and failure.

You actually want to lock your hands over their sacrum/tailbone/as far down the spine as possible and push with your shoulder/head as far up their spine as possible. If done right it will look like you are locking your hands over their butt, not the small of their back like he is doing in the video. The core of the body is generally very strong and so you need to maximize your leverage and minimize theirs if you want success with that.

The third takedown will work if you catch them with their near foot forwards, or if you can get to a side clinch where your head is behind their near arm/shoulder and can hook the leg with your outside leg or if you are much stronger than them. But locking it up like he is on even a same weight person as you is likely to have them square up to you and wind up getting pummeled to a neutral Greco Clinch (or worse). Also, his elbows are too low on that “Shield” during his entry and a big puncher would crunch your neck trying to walk in on them. You need to align your Humerus/Upper Arm bone(s) directly with the line of force so your Shield becomes a battering ram supported by your body structure behind it. With your elbows low like he is your forearms become levers and the only thing supporting your structure is your neck.

So, If you are going to do that takedown I would suggest performing the Shield correctly (which will effortlessly smash through your opponent’s attempts to punch you coming in if done right), and then once getting the body lock either doing the “back bend” takedown featured in the second video (but done correctly like I described above), or doing a duck under to get to Rear/Side Clinch where it is harder for your opponent to square up to you, strike you, and you have better control of them.

Here is a great Duck Under technique from a body lock that allows you to keep your lock/control throughout (it’s the technique that Chael is showing Okami):

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